Knicks Lose Court Fight Before Falling To Heat

SATURDAY, MAY 17, 1997

Before losing on the court, the Knicks lost in court.

Three hours before gametime, a federal judge declined to stop the playoff suspensions of four New York players, forcing Patrick Ewing and Allan Houston to miss Friday night’s Game 6 against Miami.

“We think it is important to apply your rules swiftly and quickly,” NBA executive vice president Jeffrey Mishkin said in a news conference outside the courthouse. “The NBA certainly took no pleasure in issuing the suspensions. But it also is important to enforce our rules as they are written.”

Ewing, Houston, Larry Johnson and John Starks filed suit Friday morning in federal court, and U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff quickly called for an afternoon hearing on the request for a temporary restraining order.

He listened to 90 minutes of arguments for both sides, retired to his chambers for nearly 2 hours, then gave a rambling, 25-minute explanation of his conclusions before ruling against the players.

Pippen talks of ‘macho’ teams

Scottie Pippen calls them “macho teams” that practice a similar style of rough play while carrying the same big egos and swagger into every game.

Be it the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks - one of which will be playing the Pippen and the rest of the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals - Pippen sees little difference.

“We have the right to be a macho team. We’ve won four titles in the ‘90s,” Pippen said after Friday’s practice.

“We don’t feel like we carry the type ego those teams carry that haven’t won. They are still trying to prove themselves. If you listen to them and watch them out on the court and knew nothing about the game, you would think they are the teams that dominated in the ‘90s.”

The Bulls haven’t played since Tuesday when they finished off the Atlanta Hawks 4-1 in the second round.

Pippen said he would prefer to play the Knicks in the conference finals because of their long-time playoff rivalry with the Bulls.

Their postseason history includes grueling games, verbal exchanges, a nasty brawl that spilled into the seats in 1994 at Chicago Stadium and Pippen’s refusal to re-enter a game with 1.8 seconds remaining.

Draft list finalized

University of Kentucky swingman Ron Mercer heads the list of early entrants for the 1997 NBA Draft. Some 47 players have declared for early entry into the draft, which will be held June 25 in Charlotte, N.C. Underclassmen who gave up their remaining college eligibility for the draft were required to notify the NBA by Sunday.

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